flap yer wings.

This morning when I drove out of the neighborhood on my way to work, I was acutely aware of the fact that my life is going to drastically change in 9 days. I’ve been counting down. I’m now into the single digits. I hit shuffle on my music play list and tried to warm my fingers. It’s January. It’s cold.

It has been difficult to get here. And it’s really, really scary. I’ve been on this same path a long time and sometimes I worry that it’s too late to change, or I’m too old, or it’ll never work. Some people never think to deviate from this path. Other people never even consider living the kind of life I have up till now. Which is right, which is better? Not for me to say. I only know how I want this to go for myself.
So – scary, difficult – and utterly exhilarating. What’s next? I have some good solid leads on being able to answer that. And I know what I want to happen next. But in a way – I have no idea what comes next. And guess what? I’m OK with that.

As I continued to drive down the road, a really lovely, haunting, perfect song started to play. “Quiet” by Bruce Hughes (by the way, happy belated birthday, Bruce). The echoey acoustic guitar and faraway melody was the perfect accompaniment to the cold, the morning light, the movement of the car. I looked up and saw a long line of Canadian Geese overhead, and for several seconds, each and every one of them was floating on the breeze – not a single one flapped their wings. They moved as one whole solid unit, sailing through the air to the music. It was one of those Perfect Driving Moments, that I always cherish… thank you, Universe…
Then suddenly the song “skipped” and ended, and another one began. This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen with all this high tech stuff! But it did. 2 geese flapped their wings. The moment was gone.

I guess you never know how things will go. And Perfect Moments are, well, just moments.

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advent.

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent – there are four of them leading up to Christmas. It is the third one, and I still don’t have a single holiday decoration up anywhere in this house. I feel kind of bad about it. But in my defense – I’ve been busy.
For the most part, I’m OK with not having anything out yet. I feel like my Mom would be disappointed with me, but you know, she’ll just have to deal with it, wherever she is. This is the first year since she passed away that the Christmas season is not sucking for me. The first year I don’t have PTSD, the first year I’m not filled with a now-familiar sense of dread from looking back to the events of 4 years ago. I feel sad, and I miss my Mom, but it is finally, for the most part, OK. And maybe because of that, I don’t know – I am OK with celebrating Christmas a little differently this year and not having it all over the house.
My Dad sent me the following piece of writing this week. It was part of something he wrote as a tribute to my mom, in March of 2012, one year following her death. He wrote something, as did I, my Aunt Deepti, and my Mom’s brother, Jan. I would point you in the direction of that original post, but I managed to permanently blow away a huge chunk of my blog a while back, and I can’t find it. (I hope I have that post somewhere on my desktop though – it was some beautiful writing by all 4 of us, I have to say).
My parents were divorced when I was so young, that I don’t have any memories of all three of us together as a family. But he wrote this lovely piece about something he remembered about their life together, before I was born. I can picture it so clearly in my imagination…
Early in our marriage Monika asked to make a little table stand for an Adventskranz. The stand had a star-shaped base with a tapering, 16 inch mast, at the top of which I cut and secured a small 5 pointed star. I painted it all a warm Venetian red. 
On the day before the first day of Advent, from the base of the top star, Monika would suspend, by four red ribbons, the Krantz that she had made by binding fir branches in a circle. It hung as a wreath, parallel to the table just above the base. On the Krantz she then would attach four, white styrene candles, equally spaced. Atop the upper star, she secured a little painted angel, a German, folk art angel made of turned wood.
The next day, the first Sunday of Advent, she would cover our small breakfast table with a folk tablecloth, set the Adventskranz in the center and the Adventskalender to one side. Then, she would set out two coffee cups, on saucers (not Meisen, though if we had had them, they would have been), and brew a pot of coffee. When the coffee was ready, the first of the four candles would be lit and we would sit down and enjoy the special space we had created. She would have stories to tell of other Advents, and at some point we would punch open the first day of the Adventskalender and share the chocolate that we knew was concealed inside. 
There was a window for each of the days of Advent, so we celebrated each day with a little chocolate, and on the remaining 3 Sundays we sat with coffee and lit an additional candle.
I am grateful for my parents. Happy Advent to you, too.
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going to the beach.

Tonight I was driving home from the store and I heard Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville on the radio. I never listen to the radio, but I happened to be driving a car that didn’t have an auxiliary outlet to plug a phone into, so… it was either Bette Midler on NPR or Jimmy Buffet. I went with the beach.
I got a bit depressed today. I’m not sure why. I think it’s seasonal – it’s not uncommon for me to feel down this time of year. Today is the first really cold day of the year, it’s the end of Daylight Savings tonight, and you can finally feel things starting to hunker down for the winter. Seems my heart does the same. At least I guess that was it.
When my mom was sick and dying, I became obsessed with Jimmy Buffet. I had Sirius XM at the time, and whenever I could, I’d listen to the Jimmy Buffet channel. He’s so easy-going, and fun and happy – and he sings about things like cheeseburgers and Margaritas and mangoes… I kept telling myself, when this was all over, I was going to go to Florida and be a beach bum and not do a damn thing for a very long time.
“This” ended up being 13 weeks of the coldest, loneliest winter ever. Every night for 13 weeks, I would go to bed scared to go to sleep because I was afraid of what might happen that night. Every day I got up afraid of what new pain would reveal itself that day. Thinking about Jimmy Buffet and escaping to Florida was sometimes the only way I could get by. And I didn’t really care.
I never made it to Florida after my mom died. I took a few days off and finally went back to work. I don’t know if I didn’t have the courage to do it, or if it just didn’t seem as important anymore. Whatever the reason, I pretty much just forgot about it. Until tonight.
I did go off to the beach later that year, though – my grandma’s beach house in Sunset Beach, CA. I went by myself, for 2 weeks. I had a few adventures, and met some new friends, including a real nice pen pal. It was lonely, but it was good. But I’m not sure I’d categorize it as escaping. It was simply a vacation…

Regardless, I don’t listen to Jimmy Buffet anymore. I guess I don’t need to escape so badly after all. Even on days like this, when I am down, and feeling disconnected and a little lost, the sky is still blue enough and the air is still clear enough right where I am.
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book.

So I wrote a book.
It’s a short book… I suppose it’s a children’s book but I don’t really think of it as one.
It’s a picture book. For all ages.
I wrote it rather quickly, and only after some time had gone by, did I realize what it was actually about. Does that ever happen to you? I’ll write something and I won’t know where it comes from until after I’m done and I go back and read it and then it makes sense…
After I realized what it was, I asked my Uncle Jan to illustrate it. I was afraid he’d say no, but maybe he realized what the book was too, and thankfully, he agreed to add illustrations to my text.
And here we are, a year later, and the book is done.

The book is for my Mom, who passed away March 10, 2011 after 13 weeks of illness. I can’t explain here what that was like, but I can say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. This is a book about that experience.
My Uncle Jan is a wonderful artist, and it’s so generous of him to have created the beautiful illustrations that are in this book. I know that he did it for my mom. But I also know that it was for me, too. So thank you, Uncle.

The finished product is a gift. It’s a gift for my Mom, it’s a gift for me and my family. I am so very proud of it. To me, it feels like closure, it feels right.
I hope that you’ll take a minute and go look at it. And being the good marketer that I am, of course I’ll point out that if you like it, you can get your own copy… right here.

It’s a beautiful book. I know my Mom would love it.

the thunderstorm
the thunderstorm

 

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pull out your book.

Reach under your skull and grab the book that is your brain. Let me see your table of contents.
INTRODUCTION:     page 3
 
Reason & Logic:     Chapter One starts off with a bang. Right off the bat we find ourselves in the middle of the action; the catch is, there’s no way out of the action. Gotcha!
 
The Greater Plan:     Chapter two asks the burning  question: “what the hell for?!?” but sadly, we never get an answer.
 
What’s Not to Love?:     Chapter three of our journey. It’s all good! Freedom! Music! Dancing naked in your living room! W00t indeed.
 
The Naked Truth:     Chapter four brings the bringdown. It’s the hangover after the party and its when you say to yourself, “was that me swinging from the chandelier or someone who just kind of looked like me? Ow my head.”
 
Four Years of Purgatory:     Chapter five – the darkness. Like they say it’s always darkest before the dawn, and the shadows can seem longer than they really are… We fall pretty far sometimes before sunrise hits.
 

The Beginning of the Beginning:     The last chapter is now the first. Open up, be kind, smile, melt. 

 
books
 
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